Is Philip Sasser’s Our Man in the Pews. I wish he updated it more, but honestly it’s well worth the wait.
Posts Tagged ‘Religion’
Posted in Religion, tagged Augustine, Christianity, Confessions, Divinity, Existence, God, I Am, Infinity, Literature, Mysticism, Personal Revelation, Religion, Revelation, Saint Augustine, Spirituality, Truth on April 23, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
And I said, “Is truth, therefore nothing, because it is not diffused through space–neither finite nor infinite?”
And you cried to me from afar, “I am that I am.”
-Augustine, Confessions 7.10.16
Posted in Literature, Religion, tagged Art, Aslan, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia, Heaven, Jesus, Literature, Lucy Pevensie, Magic, Narnia, Religion, Spirituality, Voyage of the Dawn Treader on April 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
“I’m sorry. But please-”
“Speak on, dear heart.”
“Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember? Will you tell it to me, Aslan? Oh do,do,do.”
“Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Posted in The South, tagged Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, Blogging, Blogs, Chuck Thompson, Magazines, Oxford American, Philip Sasser, Print, Reading, Religion, The South, Tumblr on September 5, 2012 | 3 Comments »
Go read Philip Sasser’s excellent and genteel review of Chuck Thompson’s anti-Southern screed, Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.
Then, follow Philip Sasser’s blog (I know, I know, its tumblr, but I forgive him), folow all the Oxford American blogs, and purchase a subscription to the Oxford American (a print subscription, because print is better than the internet). You will be glad you did.
Posted in Literature, Religion, tagged Art, Christianity, Crescent, Cross, Duty, Hope, Humanity, Interview, Jean Stein, Literature, Math, MAthematics, Morality, Paris Review, Religion, Sacrifice, Southern Lit, Southern Literature, Suffering, William Faulkner, Writing on August 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol — cross or crescent or whatever — that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race. Its various allegories are the charts against which he measures himself and learns to know what he is. It cannot teach a man to be good as the textbook teaches him mathematics. It shows him how to discover himself, evolve for himself a moral codes and standard within his capacities and aspirations, by giving him a matchless example of suffering and sacrifice and the promise of hope.
Posted in Parenting, Religion, tagged Alaska, Christianity, Creation, Family, Hiking, Insects, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Marriage, Mosquitos, Mysticism, Nature, Parenting, Pests, Prayer, Religion, Revelation, Wisconsin on August 3, 2012 | 3 Comments »
One time I went on a short hike in the Wisconsin woods with my beautiful and sexy wife and our kiddos. We were mobbed by mosquitos–-more than I have ever seen at once in my entire life, and I spent a chunk of my childhood in Alaska, where the mosquito is the state bird. We showered ourselves in industrial-strength, hazardous-chemical, deep-woods mosquito repellant until our skin was on fire, but it did nothing. My exasperated five-year old son finall asked in anguish why Jesus made mosquitos, to which my wife replied “I don’t know, why don’t you pray and ask him.”
A moment of silent hiking later, my son pipes up, “Mommy, Jesus says he didn’t do it.”
Posted in Religion, tagged Anxiety, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cowardice, Depression, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Integrity, Internet, Isolation, LDS, Marriage, Missionary Work, Missions, Mormon, Mormonism, Obedience, Priesthood, Regret, Religion, Sacrifice, Scripture, Spirituality, Study, Telephone, Television, Temple, Temple Marriage, TV, Virtue on July 18, 2012 | 1 Comment »
I served a full-time, two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1998-2000. For two years, I spent every waking moment (when I wasn’t in the bathroom) with a missionary companion. I got up in the morning every day for personal and companion study. I spent all day proselytizing, with short breaks for meals. I didn’t watch TV. I didn’t use the internet. I was only supposed to read Church-approved books and publications. I talked to my family back home on the phone only on Christmas and Mother’s Day. I had (part of) one day a week off from study and proselytizing to spend cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry, going grocery shopping, writing letters to my friends and family, and then, if I had any time left over, for recreation or relaxation. I wore a suit and tie (or at least a shirt and tie) and a name-tag every day. For two years, I was not Kullervo; I was Elder Kullervo.
And even though I am no longer a Mormon, I don’t regret it at all.
I was reasonably faithful, I worked reasonably hard, and I did my best to follow the rules most of the time. I matured a lot, I learned a lot, I made a lot of great friends, I learned a foreign languauge, I had a lot of life-changing experiences, and I’m a better person for having gone.
There were a lot of downsides to it, of course–I struggled with feelings of depression and unworthiness the same as many (most? all?) missionaries, but it wasn’t like a constant, horrible black cloud. I manifested the first signs of some problematic anxiety issues that would plague me for years to come, but honestly they run in the family, and so I figure I was prone to them anyway. There were good days and bad days, same as any other time; maybe a little more intense on both sides of the spectrum but it’s an intense couple of years, so it’s sort of to be expected.
One of the reasons I don’t regret my mission (or anything else I did as a Mormon), is that now, in retrospect, I don’t question my motives for leaving the Church. I don’t second-guess myself and wonder if I “decided” the Church wasn’t true in order to give myself a break for being unfaithful. I did everything right. I wasn’t a superhuman (supermormon?) but I did all of the things a Mormon is supposed to do, up to and including an honorable mission and a temple marriage, with reasonable effort and a basically good attitude. So I am confident that I am not now making excuses to cover my guilt, and nobody can tell me that I am. I can look at myself in the mirror and say that I’m an ex-Mormon now because I don’t believe that the Church is true, and I don’t think it’s a good church if it isn’t true, not because I am too cowardly to live up to the expectations of Mormonism.
Are there other, better things I could have done with those two years? Other ways I could have spent my time? Sure. And maybe some of them would have been fantastic. And maybe I wouldn’t have had to make some of the sacrifices I did. But you know what? I was born into the Church. I was raised Mormon. I was always going to go on a mission and get married in the temple, and it’s pointless to imagine fantasy scenarios where I didn’t.
I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing to do, even though, in retrospect, I was wrong. I’ve grown and changed since then, but I am proud of myself for acting with integrity. I strongly suspect that we’ve all done a lot of things like that, both related and unrelated to religion. It’s part of growing up: you do the best you can with the tools you’ve got, and maybe with more experience or maturity you would have done something different but hey, you didn’t have more experience or maturity back then. So no sense regretting it now.
I regret the times in my life when I have acted out of selfishness or cowardice, not the times when I did what I believed in. When I served my mission, I was doing what I believed in, and so I have no regrets.